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Thread: Against all Odds: The British Empire in World War Two

  1. #5681
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    Ciryandor You are asctually quite close in regards to the Philippines, though the ratio isn't that good (for them) because the first and most valuable exports were industrialists and they went somewhere where there is substantial modern Industry already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    ViperhawkZ You've been reading my mind again? *puts on tinfoil hat*
    Haha.

    But seriously, world revolution and all that. If the Americans are, as you've said, against the USSR because of their betrayal of Communism, then I assume they are paying more attention to Trotsky who, hey, was in Mexico.
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  3. #5683
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    If the Americans are smart (and they are) then at the very least Central America will enevitably fall into their camp because it will be at least until the late 50s before the British can and will look beyond Europe, Russia and China.
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    19th February 1943


    Chapter 319




    “Send the signal again!” Goodchild ordered and the rating with the shaded signal lamp flashed out the pre-arranged signal the CO had given him. Three long, two short, four long, one short, with a red signal lamp.

    Behind him on the blacked out bridge Ian and Felix watched with more outward calm than either of them felt and all over the ship men were at their action stations. All the lookouts had been issued night-binoculars which, while heavy and cumbersome allowed them to take full advantage of what little light came from the stars.

    Edgehill had been on station for almost three hours now and if they were to drop off their load before dawn then they would soon have to be getting a move on. They still had a good five hours of darkness in these parts, but dropping of supplies for the resistance here was only one part of their mission. Quite aside from getting out of these Destroyer and patrol-craft infected Islands and eventually back home again there was a second, sealed envelope that only Ian and Felix knew about and that had to contain a set of secret orders.

    They both felt that it couldn't be anything good but they were barred from opening it until they had opened their first set of orders. Even Felix hadn't known about it until two hours ago when Ian had shown it to him.



    Suddenly one of the lookouts exclaimed: “There, Sir!”


    The answering three long three short and five long were sent by a light on shore, at an angle from the bridge so that it was almost missed. With a smile on his face Goodchild stepped into the Bridge. “We have an answer, Sir.”

    Ian nodded. “Good. Lower the boats and embark Captain Smith and his men. Oh and I will accompany him ashore.” Goodchild was not happy about this part but Ian had allowed no discussion about the matter. “If something happens,” he had said, “Commander Leiter has my full confidence, and anyway, I think any CO should be willing to share the dangers of his men.”


    In reality Ian knew that at his rank dashing about the jungle should be left to those who were more expendable but he missed the times when he and Felix had dashed about occupied Europe and he was insistent on proofing that he still could.
    Felix hadn't been particularly happy about Ian going but had known that there was no point in trying to convince him not to. The look of determination on his face had told him the whole story.

    So Ian had donned his Royal Marine Battledress with the insignia of a Colonel in the Corps and was now standing by the side of Captain (RM) Smith and helped the Marines loading their guns into the boats.

    Ian placed himself in one of the boats while Smith lead the charge, having insisted that he be allowed to draw enemy fire first if there was any. The boats were standard SBS issue inflatable boats and all the British were armed with Stens and a pistol, so if there was a Japanese patrol out there they would sell themselves dearly.

    After they had landed the boats were half dragged onto the beach then Smith took two of his men and moved off into the undergrowth.

    This confirmed Ian's earlier suspicions in that Smith knew more then he was saying but before he could ponder on it any further one of Smith's men came forward and waved to the others.

    “Well that's it then,” Ian said and ordered one of the men to return to the ship and prepare to begin unloading. He himself followed the man who had come back to the beach into the undergrowth together with a part of the men that had remained behind. A quarter-mile inland they met a picket who, after looking at them closely in the narrow beam of a shaded electric torch winked them through. They were not Japanese and wore the same uniforms as the earlier group.


    In the temporary camp, several tents around a non-existent fire Ian noted much to his surprise that there was a considerable number of horses in several small groups around. These points were arrayed in a rough half-circle and would act as a backup to the sentries even though the wind came in from the sea.

    He was led to the biggest tent and inside found Smith shaking hands with an Officer in a slightly worn but clean and still well maintained uniform of a Captain in the Army of the Philippine Republic. The Officer glanced at Ian's rank and threw the American Army salute which was promptly returned.

    “Captain Frederic McNair , 111th Philippine Cavalry Regiment.”

    “Captain Fleming of Her Britannic Majesty's Navy.”


    The lack of surprise on McNair's face made it clear that the news of the upsets in the British Royal Family had reached even this far. Hardly surprising, the Japanese had decried how weak and decadent the British Monarchy was when compared to their own.

    “Please, sit down, Captain Fleming.” McNair said and motioned to one of several collapsible chairs in front of the pile of ammunition crates that went for a desk. Once Ian was seated McNair rose to his feet as at the same time a Filipino wearing Sergeant Stripes stuck his head around the flap of canvas that formed a sort of door.

    “Excuse me please, Captain. A matter to do with our horses.”

    When McNair had left Ian took the opportunity to study the tent and ponder the man living in it. What furniture there was was meant to be disassembled in a haste. Near the back a flag of the Republic was painted to the canvas so that it was situated behind the desk while on the desk itself a small statuette that depicted the old Statue of Liberty that had once been the most recognized symbol for America.


    Lady Liberty, 1886 - 1935

    The name alone made clear that McNair was one of those that had once belonged to the United States Army and who now found themselves fighting the same invader for another flag which put them on the same side with the hated ideology that had destroyed their country. It was surprising that not more Expats worked with the Japanese instead of against them.


    So the rumours were true then. As a Naval Officer he had no idea how many men would ride all the horses out there but there seemed to be enough men for at least a troop. Not much but probably one of the largest and best organized groups in these Islands.

    Upon his return McNair found the British Officer studying the small stack of books on the old ammunition crate near his cot.

    “I'm surprised, Captain McNair.” Ian said without looking away.

    “What about, Sir?”

    “I'm rather surprised to find a copy of the Special Operations Executive Field Manual for Operations behind enemy lines here, the Asia edition especially.”

    McNair smiled. “Well, that's not surprising at all. Or how do you think your superiors even know we are here?”


    Ian let out a short, barking laugh. “That's true of course. Such is life of an Officer, never being told what he needs to know because those with more scrambled egg than one's humble self think he doesn't.”

    “Glad to see that you Brits haven't changed that much.”

    Ian was puzzled. The Philippine Republic had been part of the world Media until the Japanese had attacked after all.

    “Well,” McNair said when asked, “the Japs are spewing all sorts of crazy crap about how the decadent British Empire is bribing the poor, uneducated locals into accepting the perfidious authority of the even more decadent British Crown.”

    Ian smiled. Japanese propaganda was one thing in a war that was never in short supply. The Japanese had taken over most transmitters in Southern China and kept beaming propaganda aimed at the poor, repressed Colonials waiting for liberation by their Asian brothers that most people merely listened to when they needed a good laugh and because they played a surprisingly excellent selection of pre-war music, both local and from the British Isles.

    “I must say,” Ian replied, “that Tokyo Rose is a rather strange woman.”

    “That she is, Captain.” McNair said and smiled. “Now, what can I do for you?”

    Ian put on his 'duty' face and said: “My Number One doesn't know this, but I have a personal though written order from Admiral Cunningham, Allied Commander in Chief Pacific. I am directed to personally interview your group and inform you that the Allied Powers in general and the British Empire and Her Majesty's Armed Forces in particular are willing to extend all the help they possibly can to you and groups like yours. We have no interest in these Islands staying Japanese forever nor that they fall to the Communists.”

    That made McNair's left eyebrow rise a fraction of an inch. So, the limeys were really serious about beating the Japs.

    “That is a most generous officer, Captain. When your last contact team landed here by Submarine some weeks ago we told them what we need. Medical supplies and ammunition most of all. We are running out of ammunition for our Springfields and .30 calibre machine guns.”

    “There might be a problem with that, Captain. All British and Allied weapons we have a supply of in any number is .303 calibre. We normally neither produce nor use the .30-06. But,” Ian raised a hand before McNair could answer, “we have on board, or rather by now hopefully also some on the boats, all the .303 ammunition we could cram into the forward hold, a 125.000 rounds all told, along with three dozen crated, formerly Australian SMLE's, and there's thousands more in warehouses. How are you fixed for .45?”

    “It's almost totally gone. The Government kept only minor stocks of it, and we had few weapons that used them in the first place. The Thompson and the Colt 1911 were only issued to Officers.”

    Ian pulled out a notepad and scribbled something down.

    “The next runs will be made by submarine and smaller than this one, but if you would be so kind as to give me a list of what sort of weapons you need?”

    “More automatics. We mostly have rifles, but as said, we are running out of ammunition for our machine guns. Mortars we take from the Japs, they carry enough of them.”

    Ian looked at his notepad and nodded as he wrote this down.

    “One question though,” McNair said, “how are you icing loose so many rifles?”

    “Some bright spark in London or Canberra decided that to ease maintenance and to ensure employment for the Aussie production lines the No.4 had to be adopted. They knew that any forces sent to Europe would there be issued with No.4s from British stocks anyway, so one might as well go the whole nine yards as you Americans like to say.”[1]

    The derision for politicians crossed all borders.

    “Anyway, future developments of the situation at the front, might, and I must most stress that might, make the supply situation easier.”[2]

    What Ian couldn't know and what these men wouldn't know for some time was that on one of the Islands closer to Borneo and Mindanao (in fact some 620 miles from the latter) an airfield was under construction that was to be run and defended by the Royal Air Force but that was configured to turn-around a small number of Dakotas.[3]


    “In any case, the British Arms and Weapons Warehouse shall endeavour to satisfy the Philippine Army.”


    +-+-+-+-+-

    Comments, questions, rotten Tomatoes?


    [1] Actually, it was some sixty years into the future, in another universe in a small town in southern Germany where that bright spark resides and now has to deal with many sins from early in the AAR....

    [2] i.e. Ian is smart enough to know that clearing the major Islands of the DEI is a major priority and that the distance from there to everywhere in the Islands is laughable.

    [3] Think of it as two hangars, a runway, some barracks, a small tower and the most hated secret duty assignment in the Royal Air Force. Southern Mindanao is just within comfortable Dakota range if one figures in 200 miles of range reserve The distances in the Pacific aren't that well suited for these aircraft but they are the most numerous hauler the Brits have in the Pacific, the Yorks are needed elsewhere.
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    Aww...

    With all the surplus SMLE's going to the Phillipines no one will be making the Charlton Automatic Rifle. I love that gun and now it may never happen......

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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    If the Americans are smart (and they are) then at the very least Central America will enevitably fall into their camp because it will be at least until the late 50s before the British can and will look beyond Europe, Russia and China.
    I'll dare say Central America is vulnerable. Some of 'em were this (fingers held close together) close to becoming Communists OTL when Big Red was across the Pacific from them.

    As for the new chapter, good to see that the Fighting Filipinos will get the ammo they need to keep on, uh, fighting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Larkin View Post
    Aww...

    With all the surplus SMLE's going to the Phillipines no one will be making the Charlton Automatic Rifle. I love that gun and now it may never happen......
    Well, as they began making Charlton with old Lee Metfords, they might still go on...
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    Agent Larkin I did seriously consider the conversion at one point but then realized it would be both cheaper and more reliable to crank up production of the Bren and re-tool to the belt-fed variant as soon as possible to increase Section Firepower. Besides, the British footsoldier is supposed to use considered, aimed fire and not blast away like some american cowboy.

    ViperhawkZ The big South-American Cold War battleground will be the nations around Venezuela and Brazil. Argentina for example will naturally gravitate towards the Americans (and in a fit of madness try to seize the Falklands, which displeases the Admiralty and leads to a short but intense war, one of my side stories) while, for example, Brazil will be a staunch British ally.

    The Filipinos and their Islands have been slated to the Allied area of Operations, so it's quite obvious that the British help them ITTL.

    Kurt_Steiner While I wouldn't be surprised if the British Army had kept Lee-Metfords around in some numbers (after all, one might need them again) this would take re-using surplus a bit far.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    Kurt_Steiner While I wouldn't be surprised if the British Army had kept Lee-Metfords around in some numbers (after all, one might need them again) this would take re-using surplus a bit far.
    Odd as it may be, that's what the Aussies did...
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  10. #5690
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    "The Army: We never throw anything away."
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  11. #5691
    Quote Originally Posted by ViperhawkZ View Post
    I'll dare say Central America is vulnerable. Some of 'em were this (fingers held close together) close to becoming Communists OTL when Big Red was across the Pacific from them.
    Think there's a good chance that you're right but that was also partly because you had the hunking great giant on the border supporting right wing elements. If the communist Americans do put major efforts into influencing them the probably a lot will go red. However there could be substantial opposition, both because of the influence of the church in the region and simply that the Americans are now communist and seeking to dominate the region.

    As for the new chapter, good to see that the Fighting Filipinos will get the ammo they need to keep on, uh, fighting.
    Agreed.

  12. #5692
    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    "The Army: We never throw anything away."
    Trekaddict

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    Awwww. Are you sure there isn't some New Zealand cottage industry slowly turning them out because of a misplaced piece of paper?

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    It's all going far too well, when will the Japanese Colonel burst back into the narrative I wonder? Can't be long surely?
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    stevep That's true, but the Americans will be pretty ruthless down there...

    stevep(2) Alas, true...

    Agent Larkin The Kiwis are far too busy teaching the enemy to fear their she..them.

    El Pip He'll pop up again, though not immediately. The next chapter deals with trouble from a different direction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post

    Agent Larkin The Kiwis are far too busy teaching the enemy to fear their she..them.
    Trekaddict

    Possibly its the ongoing world cup but I just had this horrendous image of a mass of sheep doing the haka

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    Chapter 320



    Four hours later Smith and McNair stood at the shoreline and watched how the dark shape of HMS Edgehill vanished into the night. Around them a mixture of Cavalrymen and Royal Marines was hauling the crates with weapons, medicines and ammunition into the bushes, but the Regiment's CMO had already broken open one box labelled 'Quinine' to treat one critical case of malaria.

    “What will happen to them?” McNair asked, “this disguise won't fool the Japs for long.”

    Smith didn't have to think about this for long. Before they had approached the meeting point they had masked the name of the ship and had carefully hidden their armaments. If anything the two squids who commanded the mission could be ridiculously security conscious at times.

    “Oh they'll look after themselves. The Captain and his No.1 have done things that are probably going to be secret and be so until the second coming, but at least we know from that that they know what they are doing.”

    “Are you sure?”

    “I am,” Smith replied and nodded, “but alas, we have too much to do to worry about them.”

    McNair nodded and looked at Smith.

    “So what's your real name?”

    Smith was taken aback, not having expected this question at all. He needed to consider this. He had been issued with the fake ID only to keep his transport from learning what his real name was. He was officially on loan to these fighters and if Edgehill fell back into Japanese hands the Nips wouldn't know just which one of these army of shadows was the British advisor.

    Might as well get it over with.

    He turned to McNair and stretched out his hand. “Grayson Carlile is the name, Captain.”

    Carlile had long since made peace with his strange name and then suggested that to avoid confusion it might be prudent to use his Royal Navy Rank.

    “You are right, Lieutenant.”

    Back at the camp the two Officers retreated to the tent while the others, officers and other ranks, mingled on their own. The British Marines shared everything from news to gossip to their Filipino comrades while these shared what they knew of Japanese counter-insurgency tactics and equipment.

    Carlile and McNair shared some of the Captain's last Coffee and discussed the situation.

    “That being said, you are still very much in command here, Captain. We have been sent here to advise and help you any way we can and that's supposed to be even more important than filling out your ranks. We learned the hard way how not to do this kind of work.”

    McNair took his time to study the British Officer. Like all his men he gave off an air of quiet confidence but there was something more to him. Shaking his had at himself McNair set the cup down and said.

    “So anyway, we have to be moving before it gets fully light.”

    “I'll help you packing.”



    ~**---**~



    Davao was largest city on the Island but it was also the biggest Japanese stronghold. It also held the Southern Philippine Command Area of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Among other things their job was to prevent the flow of supplies to the resistance fighters from Allied-held territory but the command consisted only of three dozen Patrol boats and eight Destroyers. To patrol an area this vast with that sort of force was a difficult task and probably not even possible but at least the Naval Aviation Branch had stationed a significant number of patrol aircraft both to defend the fleet anchorage that until very recently had held the bulk of the Combined Fleet.

    The Fleet was out, but the Command's responsibilities had not diminished in the least. Recently there had been an uptake in resistance activities, and some idiot in the Army had decided that the British were shipping arms and ammunition in. Never mind that the Philippine Republic had possessed the largest Asian Army outside of China and India, with a large number of American units that had not managed to get home when their country had torn itself apart.

    These men had retained their weapons and during the invasion several factories that produced these weapons and ammunition for them had been encountered. There were enough weapons and ammunition around for the fight to last for years. But no, the Army said the British were the root of all evil in Asia so in the current climate the Japanese Navy must nod and do what it was told. Few in the IJN believed the reports the Army released on the fighting down south and those who knew the truth knew better than speaking out, but their silence sometimes was anything but.

    At the same time the IJN had suffered a serious loss of face when the Yamato whose loss had not yet been disclosed to the public had been sunk by British Carrier Aircraft and at the moment getting anything out of the Army was like pulling teeth with a toothpick.

    The morning after Edgehill had left the coast steaming westwards it witnessed the results of the Japanese efforts. When Ian was called to the bridge he had feared that a Japanese ship was nearby and in daylight their costume wouldn't fool any half-awake Japanese skipper for too long.


    “Oilslick and wreckage on the surface, Sir.” Goodchild said without being asked as he heard Ian enter the bridge. “Slow to small ahead.”

    “We can't stop in these waters.” Ian said after inspecting the oil, “It's probably from a sunk Submarine and one of ours most like.”

    He set down his binoculars and looked at the bridge Officers. Takahashi had the deck, but Goodchild had reached the Bridge and taken over before Ian.

    “Agreed, Captain.” Goodchild said even though he felt similar to all the others. They would not search for survivours but instead move westward along the shipping lines.

    “All ahead full then, Lieutenant Takahashi.”

    “Aye aye Sir. All ahead full.”

    He pushed the handle to full forward and down in the engine room the big machines that propelled the ship roared louder and the ship's speed increased considerably. Now that her forward hold was almost empty (in fact the crew had spent most of the day shifting ammunition and assorted cargo from the aft hold to even out the ship's trim) so she was somewhat faster than before.

    “And be ready to take the ship to Action Stations. Somehow I feel we are not alone around these parts.”


    And Ian was right. Just over the horizon the Japanese Destroyer Mutsuki was speeding for the site where they had sunk an enemy submarine earlier in that morning. They didn't go there for any particular reason except that it was their normal patrol pattern. No one expected any more trouble, allied Submarines were rare in the first place and most of those were busy trying to keep the Navy from re-supplying the defenders of Sumatra.


    Mutsuki near Hong Kong in 1936, picture taken by HMS Venerable

    It was the forward lookout who spotted the strange ship first. What was so strange about it was the fact that it seemed to be a single freighter operating alone at a location where only a few hours ago combat had taken place.

    What was even more odd was that there were few missions single ships operated on out here these days and none had been scheduled for one of the various supply runs that were conducted almost daily.


    So far efforts at raising it on the wireless had not been successful but there could be any number of reasons for that. Little did they know that on the British Q-Ship men were racing to action stations as they had just been spotted in return or that the 'freighter' was heavily armed and could make a fight of it if it had to.


    What they also failed to realize was that they should call this in, but since the ship flew the same ensign as they themselves they never suspected anything.

    On the Destroyer's bridge her Captain glanced at his crew.

    “Hail them again.”

    “Yes Sir!” someone said.

    “Unknown Freighter, this is the Destroyer Mutsuki. Respond and identify yourselves, over.”

    “No response, Sir.”

    “Try again.”


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  19. #5699
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    The IJN is going to loose a DD, that's clear. A what cost, if I may ask...
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  20. #5700
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    I see the ships about to live up to it's namesake.

    Question however is this. Will Fleming be capable of doing what only a certain Captain James Tiberius Kirk did and winning at this?

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